TEMPS AND TAXES

Pass on the 1099 Assignments!

Uncle Sam

If you’re wondering what difference it makes, W2 or 1099, the answer is lots! Sure, you’ll get a much larger check during that assignment with a 1099, because the employer will not withhold any taxes such as social security or unemployment insurance, but that can come back to bite you in the ass big time! Especially the longer you stay at the assignment while remaining, possibly, still eligible for unemployment insurance if you had been laid off from a previous employer. In addition, you’ll have to pay taxes on both sides, that of what your employer should have kicked-in, plus your share of self-employment taxes, and that can be crushing to an independent Official Temp building a new life. Also, as an independent contractor, you won’t be protected by workplace laws that prohibit discrimination, require payment of overtime, entitle you to worker’s compensation, ad infinitum.

So, while the temp-tation might be great for the bigger, instant pay-day, just don’t do it. It’s not worth the mess it will create.

Clawing your Way to the Top

Ladies and their Polish

Wednesday

Our friends over at Cosmo raised some very good points recently on nail polish colors for that dream job interview. The reader asked: “Can I wear any color polish into my interview?” The Official Temp answer? A resounding NO!

Everyone looks at your hands the minute they meet you, it’s like a second window into the soul after your eyes. Well, maybe third. Regardless, your nails need to look professional and most importantly, they need to look confident. Yes, confident nails! You should wear a color that is muted and won’t steal the focus away from your face, especially if you tend to talk with your hands, which everyone does. So selecting the right color is absolutely critical.

To be safe, go for a nude-ish pale pink shade, much like Essie’s Nail Polish in Lady Like. It’s fabulous and if it chips on your way to the interview, the person grabbing your hand at introduction in the lobby won’t be able to tell. And make sure the color is the same on EVERY finger. Don’t checkerboard here – this is not the time to entertain yourself or claim your individuality with various colors on each finger. And for the love of God, please don’t incorporate glitter, nail art, or any appliques whatsoever. They’ll think you’re a wildcard looking to throw a wrench into how they operate. Conformity, that’s what they’re looking for.

If you’re a nail biter, you have one life-saving option. Grab some short and natural looking falsies. They will get you through the hump, and hopefully if you leave them on, which we totally suggest, it will encourage you to stop biting your nails altogether, which you should.

Last: Length. An Agency rep wants to know that you can type and file with total gusto, without worrying about your nails, so if your nails are on the longer side of the scale, we say cut them down to a nice, professional length. And if you’re unsure what that is, ask your friends who are working.

Now, here’s to looking gorgeous and nailing that interview.

TIP OF THE WEEK

The Grass ain’t always Greener

Look, we’ve all had moments of lowering our standards to pay AT&T for our 2.9 G plan, literally accepting soul-crushing assignments, tasked to us by absolute trolls. Really, who hasn’t been forced into situations you swore on your life would never be you, only your landlord is sending you angry texts. So when it does become you, and you have to take that horrendous assignment, just remember some of your favorite celebrities have probably had it much worse in their own temporary employment endeavors. Much worse! And there’s nothing wrong with feeling a little superior if it eases the pain of the moment.

Johnny Depp – Sold pens by phone
Brad Pitt – Danced in a chicken suit in front of a fast food joint (but still rules)
John Hamm – Set designer for porn
Orlando Bloom – Pigeon catcher at shooting range
Ozzie Osbourne – Slaughterhouse (no lie)
Hugh Jackman – Clown (how little has changed)
Patrick Dempsey – Juggler
Danny DeVito – Barber (go figure)
Amy Adams – Hooters
Madonna – Dunkin Donuts

Brad Pitt

Your grass doesn’t look so bad, does it?

The Bate Game

Bottom Feeding Agencies

secrets

Thanks to reality television, smoke and mirrors seems to be the theme of the 21st Century, and as such, some agencies are taking great liberties with truthiness by creating “fake” job postings to help beef up their stable of talent. Let’s not be too harsh, they’re just trying to make a buck like anyone else and parlay that stable of talent into cred when approaching a big fish to hook on their line. However, there is actually a two-fold motive behind this sleazy practice: What they are really after is Information about your current or previous employer, not necessarily you.

A former recruiter who asked for anonymity stated, “often when it’s quiet and you don’t have much going on, you’ll put a fake job online to get candidates in.” This person went on, “I would put up a generic ad saying a company is looking for a temp with 5 years of experience in business development, blah, blah, blah. Then after receiving a heap of resumes, I would invite the candidate in, but it’s really to find out where they’ve been interviewing. I’d then jump on the phone to those companies they’ve interviewed with, and say ‘oh, I hear you’re looking for staff,’ and then pitch our other candidates.”

A smart Official Temp generally can see right through a fake job post. However, when rent is coming up, the temp-tation can be too great, and the door for fleecing can be thrown wide open. Our recruiter added, “you also try to find out who their managers were from previous jobs to run a fake reference call and then go in for the kill, to find out how many openings they actually have, again for your own candidates. When we ran this play, we really had no intention of helping the person sitting across from us, which is the dark side of the staffing business.”

However – as an Official Temp, you rise above the rest with your keen flair for fashion and your eye for detail, not to mention a stellar resume. So, with all that said, do be cautious, make sure the agency you approach and wish to deal with specializes in temporary placements. And don’t be afraid to ask the recruiter ahead of time to name some of the companies they work with. You too can verify this by calling those companies they pitch for verification, and who knows, maybe turn the tables on them and land yourself a bigger check by cutting out the middle man.

We’re just saying – all is fair when rent is due, and Official Temps don’t get taken.

Our Favorite Official Temp Grub Stops in Downtown Los Angeles

“The food here is terrible, and the portions are too small.” Woody Allen

BirdiesChickenSandwich-768x575-1

Birdies Chicken Sandwich Courtesy of LA Mag

As natives of Los Angeles, we know a thing or two about both eating on a budget during the workday, as well as knowing where to find those hidden gems offering cheap eats. Our first stop in the past when we ourselves were temping in the towers of downtown had always been Grand Central Market. Believe us,our love of Grand Central started long before our working years, with our parents holding our young hands as we were guided through the maze of kiosks and killer produce that one could pick up at a fraction of supermarket prices. Sadly, those days are long gone. All that awesomeness is but a dimmemory thanks to douch-ie, more touristy friendly names and themes that have gutted the character of the market and pushed-out the little guy in the last three years.

However, we still know our way around, and as Official Temps, we like to share lunch-eats information with our brethren (and sista-ren) in the downtown area of Los Angeles, so here are three of our favorite places that will keep you well under your lunch budget and with you swearing you’re eating in an exotic location – sort-of.

Amboy
727 No. Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90012
213.537.0053

This great Chinatown walk-up draws a weekday neighborhood crowd that is feeling the pressure of skyrocketing rents and luxury apartments being built nearby, which is really a shame, as we hope they can hang on. Believe us, you aren’t going to find an entirely cooked fish wrapped in banana leaves served over a bed of perfect rice anywhere in downtown for under $11. This meal is truly amazing and leaves you totally satisfied.

La Mascota Bakery
2715 Whittier Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90023
323.263.5513

Okay, this one used to be an easy shot east from downtown over the 6 th Street bridge, which would then turn right into Whittier Boulevard where this little treasure is located, but you can just as easily get there going through the Arts District, taking the 4 th Street bridge, and shooting down Soto. This Boyle Heights hideaway has some of the beast tamales in the city, not to mention an amazing bakery for quickmorning pickups of chilindrinas and insanely cheap, specialty coffees.

Birdies
314 W. Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90015
213.536.5720

Okay, aside from not a single item on the menu being over $10., the food here, created by Chef Jason Harley, is insanely delicious – from the free-range fried chicken to the artisan donuts, it’s absolutely amazing. They offer a menu of American classics with a full-throttle modern twist, and stay open 24- hours on Friday and Saturday nights. How good is that?

Sea Salt Fish Grill
812 West 7th Street
Los Angeles, CA, 90017
213.243.5700

If you’re a fan of poke – go here. We’ve ventured up and down Melrose Ave and none of those poke stops make the cut. However Sea Salt, whether you get poke with their chips or brown rice, each dish is sure to make your palette extremely happy.

Daily Dose Cafe 

1820 Industrial St #260
Los Angeles, CA 90021
213.935.8189

This is a gem hidden in an alley of the booming Arts District in Downtown Los Angeles. This place offers a piece of what being in New York City feels like – lots of bricks. You can never go wrong with any of their egg dishes and you’ll love the feel of the strung out patio lights during the day.

Zinc Cafe & Market 
580 Mateo St
Los Angeles, CA 90013
323.825.5381

An Official Temp may occasionally want to do some work during their lunch hour, which we would advise against, but if you must, Zinc is a great spot. Their food is light, delicious and affordable. There’s plenty of seating for you to take out your laptop and work and they’ve even got Bar Mateo for that impromptu happy hour.

Torn Between Two Lovers

Which Agency is Right for you?

Recently, Greg Booth, CEO and cofounder of Net-Temps, an online recruiting source, was professing that absolutely everyone should be a temp at least once in their life before deciding on a final career path, “find an industry that you’re interested in and take a job at whatever level you can for a three-month assignment” he advised. “By being part of that industry, you get a taste for it.” And do we love tasting things, or what?

Booth went on to explain that advancements in the temping industry has drawn in a more diverse and bigger pool of talent in the last decade. Booth even suggested that because of this increased stability in temping, people are finding the contingent workforce to be a lucrative alternative to traditional employment. He went on, that temps of today expect “the premium pay, varied assignments, new challenges, and a way out of corporate America.”

Sounds like Official Temp thinking to us!

fork-in-the-road

Two options here. The first is the standard road of finding those agencies in your area through the online search, doing your homework on the companies they represent, finding out which positions they fill, and ultimately getting an idea on the rates and benefits they offer. It’s not uncommon for agencies to share contracts, so you might get more money with a different agency for the same company, applying the case of supply and demand. In fact, an agency can charge a given company even more money for a contingent temp who’s brilliant at IT, or even a competitive salary for a temp who wants something clerical.

The second option is reaching out to those companies directly who carry a substantial workforce in your area, companies you want to work for. More and more companies love to find contract employees, on their own, thereby cutting out the middle-man (or middle-woman) as agencies can take a substantial cut of the hourly pay involved, and often bump up the salary even more for a really gifted Official Temp. LinkedIn is an excellent way to start reaching out to people with this option, seeing if friends work for any of the companies where you’d like to get your feet wet.

Summer’s a-wasting, so get going.

The Scarves of Summer

Ladies, there is no better way to put a killer spin on your summer wardrobe than the summer scarf.  We’re not talking about those insanely bulky, wool-numbers you throw around your neck in winter, we’re talking about delicate silk confections that elegantly take the most casual outfit to the next level.  Nothing screams chic like a tasteful scarf lightly wrapped around your neck, or tied tastefully around the handle of your purse.

J.Crew actually provides for some beautiful choices.

Striped Scard

If you want to ramp it up, go with Banana Republic.

Banana RepublicAnd should you lose your mind and decide to blow half-a-week’s paycheck, although it will be worth every single cent, look for Hermes Vintage online.  This purchase will last you the rest of your life.

Hermes

TIP OF THE WEEK

I Done my Resume Right!

We recently stumbled upon an extremely cool site, www.livecareer.com/resume-check

Before you send your resume to a single person, and after running it past a friend or two, your final stop is definitely Livecareer.com. Here you can get a writing analysis of your resume including its organization, whether it’s easy to follow or not, and checks on grammar, verbs, font, resume length, and spelling of course. It even checks the sections and layout to decipher whether you are communicating your point or not. This fabulous tool is a must for all Official Temps!

Summer Bags

Sling It, Men.

Something that is quickly becoming the must-have bag of the summer definitely gets our vote. Hershel Supply Co. makes this awesome business bag, The Modern Messenger. Swinging this over your shoulder with a casual-cut suit, creates a fantastic summer business look and will certainly get your noticed. And yes men, it’s time to go shopping for some lightweight suits in lighter colors.

Herschel Supply Co. Messenger Bag